Explore BrainMass

Class and caste

1. What are some contrasting significances between old age in literate and nonliterate societies.

2. Common-interest associations often have been referred to in the anthropological literature as voluntary associations, but why and how is this term misleading.

3. What are some contrasts with regard to the concepts of class and caste.

4. What are some distinguishing differences between caste and class type systems of stratification, with regard to India and the U.S.? What are some ways in which the social structure of the U.S. also resemble a caste system?

5. What are some reasons as to why some form of social inequality inevitable?

6. What are some similarities between Mundurucu beliefs and those of traditional European culture?

Solution Preview

Literate & non-literate Societies

Literacy simply put is the ability to read and write which implies the ability to communicate, understand, participate in speech as well as (in the case of a population or a culture) ensure a continuum of learning allowing members to achieve goals, develop potentials and participate in the bigger social process (i.e. reading the news, participating in debates, going to school, writing articles, learning new skills & processes, etc.). A literate society then is simply put, one which is 'lettered'. We live in a lettered society as our lives revolved around written and read language in print on TV or online. A non-literate society is seen as a culture without a written language. This does not mean that they had no spoken language as every grouping of people from the early days of man has managed to communicate via speech or even kinesics - it only means that they have not come to 'invent# symbols such as the alphabet that we use to represent their language in written form, thus, many argue, creating a barrier in said culture's development. Non-literate cultures depended on oral history, memorizing events passed down from generations through song and stories or even drawings (i.e. Cave drawing, stone art, etc.). It is important to note that non-literate is not the same as illiterate - a person who is unable to read or write even if said person is part of a society that is due to many reasons (i.e. poverty, lack of access to education). The 'theory of the great divide' suggests that the reason why literate societies have come to great development is due to our learning and utilization of the script/alphabet/letters. Ancient Egypt for example managed to hold their Empire together partly due to literacy. People who can read and write can listen and learn and find loyalty to as well as the responsibility of being a citizen. By learning one's identity is shaped informing the person's conduct in life. Literacy is taught by Egyptian priests and so melds literacy with the gift of the divine. The Greeks has managed to communicate wisdom and ponder about life and reality via the use of their script. Laws were written, and then imposed. Philosophies, academies, charters of cities - they are just among the many made possible by the Greek Script and by doing united cities and allowed for the development of Knowledge. The work of Plato, Pythagoras and Euclid comes to us from the Greek Golden Age through the written work. Hence, in literate societies, 'histories' can be traced and 'development# regarding ideas or growth of a society can analysed according to recorded events. More than that, knowledge is preserved. Also, written societies allow for more control as well as more participation with knowledge shared through varied media. Without literacy, how can a country be managed without laws, without the ability to put in place a contract? The world we know is a product of literacy. This then is what makes it different from non-literate societies. Non-literate societies depend on oral communication, such is not the case in literate societies as visual (reading, writing) is allows for communication to not necessarily be face-to-face making it more efficient. Via histories and written work, there is a sense of permanence in literate societies; such is not the case with non-literate societies as not everything can be remembered from generation to generation. Non-literacy means communication is subjective, fluid, participatory and situated in time. The written work allows for objective and quantified information, detached, and is timeless. Hence, in near extinct non-literate societies, when their very last 'speaker' (one who is fluent in the language dies), the language and practices of said people become extinct as no record can be used to learn or quantify said culture's practices.

Common Interest Associations

Common interest means that a group of individuals share in a certain ideal, viewpoint or purpose and so come together to pursue said purpose or to protect it. It is easy enough to see why it is a voluntary ...